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Helmet Nazis at It Again!

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Old September 14th 06, 09:43 PM posted to nyc.bicycles,alt.planning.urban,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.bicycles.misc,nyc.general
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Default Helmet Nazis at It Again!

NYC XYZ wrote:
A news item the last two days has been how the City is planning another
200 miles of bike lanes. For some reason, the liberals can't resist
throwing in the tidbit about some study finding that ~97% of bike
fatalities in the City involve riders not wearing a helmet. WTF???

WTF indeed. That figure is very likely bogus in one way or another.

The first way is that it's an outright fabrication. If no specific
citation was given, that's likely the case: someone with no knowledge
and an agenda spouting something off the top of his head.

The second way is that it's generated by abysmal record keeping. This
http://www.zzapp.org/rileygea/itsa/helmet2.htm, gives a detailed
explanation of the coding shortcomings of police accident reports and
their effect on Fatal Accident Recording System data. Perhaps this is
the most likely explanation.

It's worth noting that in New South Wales (where a mandatory helmet law
is strictly enforced for all ages), helmet wearing rates in 1992 and
1993 we children, 76% and 74%; adults 85% and 83%. In 1992-94,
80% of fatally injured cyclists were wearing helmets. (See Robinson,
D.L., Head Injuries & Bicycle Helmet Laws, 1996, Accident Analysis
Prevention, vol 28, pp 463 - 475.)

Think about that. Roughly 80% of the cyclists wore helmets, and 80% of
fatally injured cyclists wore helmets. It's hard to tout helmets as
life savers.

And, unless only 3% of New York City cyclists wear helmets, it's hard
to believe the "97%" claim above.

My sentiments exactly. One need only look at the Dutch model to see how
to achieve real safety. Same thing in my home town of Gothenburg. Treat
riders like real road users, and expect the same respect in return, and
you get a lower accident rate.

Believing that helmets are panacea for bike accidents is neither a
liberal or conservative, but an ideological issue that makes for ****ty
dinnertime conversation.

Writing tickets for "reckless cycling" and making it know that such a
clampdown in enforcement is on the way, is a better method. Put a big
smily face on it so it's not too draconian. Then expect a bunch of CM
hippies and emo kids to **** and moan, even though they're now being
treated as equals, just like they wanted.


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